Piscataqua Savings celebrates grand re-opening
PORTSMOUTH -- Twenty-one months after beginning renovations, Piscataqua Savings Bank held its re-opening ceremony Wednesday.
A crowd of nearly 100 people, comprised of corporators, customers and staff members, came out to see the renovations to one of Portsmouth’s most famed buildings. Guests mingled before the ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by Piscataqua’s President and CEO Rick Wallis and Mayor Jack Blalock.
Noting the team effort among Piscataqua staff, design teams and construction members to ensure the process was seamless, Wallis took pride in celebrating the success of the collaboration.
“It really was a skilled process and took a lot of individual artistry,” he said.
With the process beginning in 2014, Wallis said plans were drawn out to “create the foundation for the renovation design.” In 2015, Piscataqua Savings held a town hall-style meeting with corporators, board members and staff, who gave “input to what we have today.” The following year, the bank selected DeStefano Architects and Pine Brook Construction to help construct the most important aspects of the process.
Much of the major renovations involved opening up the main lobby and reconstructing the back entrance to make both more accessible. The back entrance, more formally referred to as the “conservatory,” is now connected to the main lobby. The conservatory now features a plant wall above the teller stations in reference to the garden outside - a staple of the bank for years. A glass ceiling was also constructed for more natural light to complement the greenery in the space.
In keeping with the desire to be more accessible, Wallis said an elevator is being completed. The bank, which occupies four buildings acquired over its 142-year history, has seven stops in the building that the elevator will service.
Wallis highlighted Piscataqua Savings’ achievement of becoming a certified B Corporation, which aims to base decisions on clientele and staff members’ needs and the well-being of their immediate environment. Calling it an easy decision, seeing as how Piscataqua Savings serves as a mutual savings bank, Wallis spoke about the principles Piscataqua follows.
“We’re focusing on transparency, environmental protection and accountability,” he said. “We are reaffirming our commitment to our customers as a mutual savings bank. It’s always been our mission to support our community, customers and staff.”
Before assisting Wallis with the ribbon cutting, Mayor Blalock praised the renovations.
“It’s my bank,” he said. “I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. We have a beautiful collection of old buildings that we take care of and this all looks so great.”